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OPINION

Editorial: The Keyser City Council, Mineral County BOE did the right thing

Staff Writer
Mineral Daily News-Tribune
Mineral Daily News-Tribune

Kudos to the Keyser City Council and the Mineral County Board of Education for taking their meetings online as our COVID-19 numbers continue to skyrocket.

In this time of pleading with everyone to be responsible and not gather in groups to help curtail the spread of the virus, these two governmental bodies took steps to help ensure the safety both of their members and of the public wishing to participate in the meetings.

The board took it’s meetings back to Zoom, which anyone can listen in on if they request the link.

We will admit, during the first wave of COVID, when some of the board members took to Zoom for their meetings while others were there in the board room in person, it was often difficult to hear anyone but superintendent Troy Ravenscroft, who was right in front of the laptop.

During their Tuesday meeting, however, all the members were on Zoom, as were we, and we could hear everyone perfectly.

On Wednesday, the Keyser City Council decided rather than try Zoom they would livestream their meeting via Facebook.

Although we were there in person, we did listen to the recorded livestream later to verify some quotes and found it easy to hear … even with the mayor and council wearing their state-mandated masks.

Before the craziness of COVID-19 hit our area, the council was livestreaming their meetings on their Facebook page and received a number of views and compliments for doing so.

The practice was stopped, however, when the council member doing the filming resigned, and it was not continued due mostly to mayor Damon Tillman’s feelings that the citizens needed to attend the meeting in person. Livestreaming the meetings, he said, discouraged that.

We would disagree. Especially in this time of social distancing, but really at ANY time, livestreaming a meeting should be seen as a tool to get people involved. If they watch the meeting, it may spark a question or comment, or even an idea for working together to help improve the city.

Yes, the viewers will probably take to their keyboards to express their thoughts, but isn’t that better than not participating at all?

We do realize that there are those out there who will also use their keyboards to degrade, insult, and otherwise spew hatred toward the city and each other, but that is where the city needs to hit the delete button.

The city has done the right thing by helping to protect us from the virus, yet share what they are doing with the citizens.

Those citizens need to do the right thing and use this tool as a mechanism for positive interaction.

Let’s face it, this pandemic has pushed us faster into the cyber world than maybe some of us have wanted to go. But by doing that, it has helped us to realize there are multiple ways to become involved with our city and county governments and we need to make use of every tool we have.